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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

March 2, 2012

Letter from CCHF's President

I've got some really good news: A whopping  72% of Americans think the individual mandate to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, according to a Gallup survey. Just 20% think it passes constitutional muster. Politico reported this refreshing statistic on Monday and then added "Yeah, but only nine matter." 

The reference to "nine" refers to the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 26, in just 24 days, SCOTUS will begin hearing oral arguments for and against the constitutionality of Obamacare. The hearing will last an unprecedented three days  (6 hours) and cover four specific issues. 

The Court will spend 90 minutes on the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA). In short, if the fine for not buying health insurance is declared a tax, the AIA forbids lawsuits until it's actually been paid (April 2014) and all lawsuits would be dismissed. That said, the 26 States just filed their  final brief saying "Not true." The court will spend 120 minutes on the Individual Mandate to purchase health insurance, 90 minutes on whether parts of the act can be invalidated and other parts left to stand (Severability) and 60 minutes on the Medicaid expansion mandate.

According to Politico, the Administration's lawyers are "pulling out the stops" to get one conservative justice to side with them. They have "peppered" their briefs with citations from Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and arguments made by one of Scalia's favorite law clerks. For instance, see page 23  here. They're also trying to influence Chief Justice John Roberts, citing his legacy as chief justice.  Politico (subscription required)

An Obamacare  protest rally orchestrated by the Tea Party Patriots will take place in Washington, D.C. at noon on Saturday, March 24 (see also below).

We counted the number of Amicus Briefs that  the Supreme Court has received on the  four questions the attorneys will address. Here's the tally for and against:
 

  SUPPORT OPPOSED NEITHER OTHER
Anti-Injunction Act (view fine as "tax") 1 2 1 2
Individual Mandate 28 43    
Severability 7 12   8
Medicaid Expansion Mandate 14 8    


Now onto the rest of the news...




News to Know:

Contraception Controversy Rages On:

Obamacare allows the Secretary of HHS to mandate any "essential health benefits" she chooses. The August 2011 contraceptive mandate shows how objectionable the administration is willing to be, and is allowed to be under the federal law. 

In the U.S. House, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) has authored H.R. 1179, the  "Respect for the Rights of Conscience Act." The bill has 213 co-sponsors, several of them Democrats. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a  Feb 28 hearing on the issue. One bishop said "Only in our new world-turned-upside-down does freedom require the denial of freedom..."

Companies that do not comply could face  steep fines of $100 per day per employee, according to the Congressional Research Service (CSR). Not only that, beneficiaries could also sue their employers if the employers did not offer contraception, according to the CSR  memo

State-Mandated Benefits Grow:

Given HHS's controversial  "bulletin" on Obamacare's "essential health benefits," if the law is not struck down, states that comply with the law will have to pay to cover the cost of any state benefits not in the EHB. The Council for Affordable Health Insurance's  annual report on STATE-mandated benefits finds a total of 2,262 state mandates in 2011, up from 2,156 in 2010. Each one increases the cost of health insurance.

Where's the Money Coming From?

It seems the Obama Administration is worried about State refusals to set up Obama's federal command and control structures called "health insurance exchanges." HHS is extending the application deadlines for States to receive the two multi-million dollar federal Establishment Grants to build the government system.  

The original "push-the-states-to-act" deadline for the Level One grant was December 30, 2011. The deadline for the Level Two grant was June 29, 2012. But an unpublished federal notice says applications for funding in both levels will be taken from Aug 1, 2012 through November 3, 2014. This flies in face of the exchange deadline which the law says must be operating by January 1, 2014.

The funding extension is all the more interesting because HHS has spent its entire $1 billion exchange budget, and has asked Congress for an additional $860 million for a federal exchange, which they already admit to using funding from "other sources" to do the work.

IPAB-ocracy:

Obamacare's Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will be made up of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats making decisions about what Medicare will and will not pay for. Under the law Congress cannot amend the recommendations except by a three-fifths vote, all recommendations go into effect except by a three-fifths vote, and a three-fifths vote is required to repeal IPAB. Obama's plan was no repeal of IPAB. Ever.

Last Wednesday, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee  voted to approve  Congressman Phil Roe's bill to repeal IPAB.  Two Democrats joined 15 Republicans to vote for the repeal. Roe's HR 452 has  17 Democrat co-sponsors.

On March 6, the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing and a vote on Congressman Roe's IPAB repeal bill is expected in the full House of Reps in the third week of March. Encourage Roe at 202-225-6356 -- and talk to your own House Member. 

Newborn Infanticide is "Permissible," say Ethicists:

There's a troubling article in the Feb 23 2012  Journal of Medical Ethics (subscription only).  Two bioethicists claim that infanticide is permissible. They write according to BioEdge, "We claim that killing a newborn could ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk." 

The abstract of the article also includes the following statement: "...the authors argue that what we call 'after-birth abortion' (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled."




News Release of the Week

Citizens' Council for Health Freedom: Supreme Court Briefs Tell Story of Obamacare Opposition

43 Briefs Oppose Controversial Individual Mandate, While Just 28 Favor It

St. Paul, Minn. - Amicus briefs filed with the Supreme Court regarding the controversial federal healthcare law - the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare - are very telling in regards to how the public and patient advocates feel about the plan.

As of this week, the number of briefs against the individual mandate outnumber the briefs favoring the law by 50 percent. Thus far, 43 Amicus briefs have been filed by those who are staunchly against Obamacare for any number of reasons, including the unconstitutionality of the mandate. Among them is Twila Brase, president and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom (CCHF), a patient-centered national health policy organization based in St. Paul, Minn.      Continue reading




Action Items:

Are you opposed to the Federal government making medical choices for you?  Come to Washington, DC on March 24 and be a part of the Road to Repeal Rally.

 
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Hosted by the Tea Party Patriots

 





Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Conscience Rights Win in Washington State
Thereʼs been a great victory for freedom of conscience. Last week, a federal ju dge ruled that Washington state cannot require pharmacists to dispense emergency contraceptives if it violates their religious beliefs. A state regulation requires pharmacies to dispense Plan B, an emergency contraceptive drug.      Continue reading

Twila Brase broadcasts a daily, 60-second radio feature, Health Freedom Minute, which brings health care issues to light for the American public. Health Freedom Minute airs on the entire American Family Radio Network, with more than 150 stations nationwide in addition to Bott Radio Network with over 80 stations nationwide.

Click here to listen to this week's features.

Citizens' Council for Health Freedom
161 St. Anthony Avenue, Ste 923
St. Paul, MN 55103
Phone: 651.646.8935 • Fax: 651.646.0100
Email: info@cchfreedom.org
www.cchfreedom.org



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